Matthew 18:12-14 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
Why have we received such love from God? Why did he watch us go astray and then come to earth to retrieve us? Why did he subject himself to such unjust physical, emotional, and spiritual misery? Why did he count the cost and pay the price? Why did the pure and holy Son of God ascend the Roman cross atop Golgatha? And then, after all he did for us 2000 years ago in Palestine, and after witnessing our ongoing insolence and rebellion even after hearing the Gospel, why did he further grace us by sending his Holy Spirit to regenerate, convert, and give us the gifts of faith and repentance? Why was God so longsuffering? Why was he so merciful? Why did he show unparalleled agape-love to us? Friends, there is only one answer — we are his sheep, the sheep of his pasture, his beloved, his elect, and it is not his will that even one of us should perish.
Why have we received such love from God’s friends? Throughout our lives, as we have stumbled and bumbled along the way, as we have been fleshly and rank, as we have foolishly headed down the road of destruction, loving worshipers of Jesus have pursued us, found us, lifted us out of the mire, carried us home, washed us, nourished us, and granted us comfort. Oh friends, where would we be without grandparents, parents, friends, teachers, elders and the like who have cared for us after the model of Jesus Christ? How thankful we should be that the Chief Shepherd continues to pursue and restore us to health by means of his undershepherds. God has kept his promise to us — he has lost none of his elect, for it is not his will that any of them should perish.
What do you think? If a man has a hundred family members, or a hundred friends, or a hundred church members, and even one of them goes astray, will he leave and go in search of the one that went astray? That’s a great question, isn’t it? I suppose the answer to this question depends upon that undershepherd’s heart. If one has been rescued by the Savior, and is filled with thankful adoration for his saving, and is growing in love for his Savior and his neighbors, then such an undershepherd will be the first one …
- Sending a note
- Writing a text
- Making a call
- Meeting at a coffee shop
- Knocking on a door
- Buying dinner
- Sending a book
- Calling out in daily prayer
- Recruiting help
- Eager to forgive and restore
Yes, motivated by affection for God and his sinful and suffering neighbor, he will hit the highways and byways looking for his lost brother. This is what happens when a sibling, parent, grandparent, friend, coach, co-worker, elder, or good neighbor does when he is freshly fruited with God’s love by means of the Holy Spirit.
So, will we reciprocate the love? As the Good Shepherd has loved us, and as his undershepherds have loved us, will we show tender-hearted, gracious, active, affection for those in our various communities? Our brother’s business is our business. When we see someone caught in a transgression, we who have the Spirit dwelling with should restore our brothers and sisters in a spirit of gentleness. It is our privilege to bear one another’s burdens and fulfill the law of Christ. (Gal. 6:1-2) Dear friends, look about you. Who has not been around for a while? Who is missing? Come on Christian, go get them!